Synapsin autoantibodies during pregnancy are associated with fetal abnormalities


  • I. Bünger
  • I. Talucci
  • J. Kreye
  • M. Höltje
  • K.L. Makridis
  • H. Foverskov Rasmussen
  • S. van Hoof
  • C. Cordero-Gomez
  • T. Ullrich
  • E. Sedlin
  • K.O. Kreissner
  • C. Hoffmann
  • D. Milovanovic
  • P. Turko
  • F. Paul
  • J. Meckies
  • S. Verlohren
  • W. Henrich
  • R. Chaoui
  • H.M. Maric
  • A.M. Kaindl
  • H. Prüss


  • Brain, Behavior & Immunity - Health


  • Brain Behav Immun Health 33: 100678


  • Anti-neuronal autoantibodies can be transplacentally transferred during pregnancy and may cause detrimental effects on fetal development. It is unclear whether autoantibodies against synapsin-I, one of the most abundant synaptic proteins, are associated with developmental abnormalities in humans. We recruited a cohort of 263 pregnant women and detected serum synapsin-I IgG autoantibodies in 13.3% using cell-based assays. Seropositivity was strongly associated with abnormalities of fetal development including structural defects, intrauterine growth retardation, amniotic fluid disorders and neuropsychiatric developmental diseases in previous children (odds ratios of 3–6.5). Autoantibodies reached the fetal circulation and were mainly of IgG1/IgG3 subclasses. They bound to conformational and linear synapsin-I epitopes, five distinct epitopes were identified using peptide microarrays. The findings indicate that synapsin-I autoantibodies may be clinically useful biomarkers or even directly participate in the disease process of neurodevelopmental disorders, thus being potentially amenable to antibody-targeting interventional strategies in the future.